Super Best Audio Friends

The evolution of the original irreverent and irrelevant and non-authoritative site for headphone measurements, i.e. frequency response graphs, CSD waterfall plots, subjective gear reviews. Too objective for subjectivists; too subjective for objectivists

I found the bass emphasis not overdone and a nice balance to the emphasized upper mids. What really drew me in was the timbre and articulation, particularly the decay of the drivers. The timbre and transient response was at least intriguing, something different, if not simply darn good.

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The thing about frequency response errors or screwiness is that they are correctable. Non-linear distortion cannot. Hence why my measurements will begin with non-linear distortion and how the ZEN performs well, or at least well in an interesting way very different from BA type drivers.
Just for a whim, started to mess with another kind of measurements which I haven't done yet. Totally unsure about how reliable this device is.. but Motu gave a good impression to sbaf seniors through higher ultralite products, which drove me to one of their budget options, M4. After finishing asio setup (super easy) and basic calibration, I rushed to take a quick loopback measurement (bal out to bal in). And below is what I got in the first try.

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WTF. Cannot help laughing. Indeed a big head scratcher. This shouldn't be true. Too good to believe, really. Something probably went wrong. Should look into more later. Any advice regarding typical noob traps will be all appreciated. Will update this thread as I collect more data points. Ultimately I want to measure other non acoustical output products (dac, preamp, head amp, etc) via M4 like I did with EARS. EDIT: The graph above doesn't make any sense (wrong option chosen). Please refer to the following post (#2)
Holy Cow! I can't believe we are now in our sixth year of GS awards. Wait a minute. I just realized something. Why did Schiit name the closeout OG Yggdrasil with the firmware updates Yggdrasil GS? Did the GS refer to Golden Schlong? LOL

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We call these awards Golden Schlongs because we don't take ourselves seriously. I think it's hilarious that some people would actually think that people on SBAF were serious about themselves after reading a post or two... Anyway, the GS is a very serious award: while we do not take ourselves seriously, we do take audio seriously. However, anyone in this hobby who doesn't think there's at least a little bit of comparing schlongs is lying to themselves. (HINT: it only gets worse the more we spend).

There have been no changes to the format this year other than the addition of the infantile Brown Starfish award. Golden Schlongs and Silver Dongs are granted on per category basis (headphones, amps, sources, portable, and other). Each category will not necessarily have a GS winner; but each category will have at least a SD. It is also possible for a category to have multiple GS winners.
All in all, I am impressed with this larger speaker design from Troels and would definitely recommend it to others that are curious. With the way speaker pricing can be in the HiFi ORFAS industry, I think this could be one of the more affordable ways to get this level of sound reproduction. Even more affordable if you can build it yourself and don’t need to hire someone like I did.

*Before that, I’d had Adam Audio A7X’s before moving into the passive speaker world. I had Philharmonic BMRs powered by a Van Alstine amp, but I’d rather not talk about that.

My desk. Usually there’s a computer monitor up there, but I put it on the floor during listening sessions. The black box to the left of my desk is the sub.

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Soekris dac2541 technical measurements. Notable highlights below:

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  • dac2541 demonstrates excellent performance in a small package and a properly designed SMPS is nothing to fear.
  • Very low distortion
  • Power supply noise spectrum are at or below -160 dBFS in balanced output
  • The power supply spectrum residual noise was so low it was necessary to reconfigure y-axis scale low enough to see the noise floor.
  • Balanced output Dynamic Range of 126 dB
  • Balanced output Cross-talk is dual mono with > 145 dB isolation
  • Balanced output Gain Linearity is nearly perfect to -110 dBFS, less than ±1 dB to -130 dBFS
  • Exceptionally low jitter
  • Single Ended performance is slightly less than Balanced output, as is typical
  • Single Ended performance is still exceptional compared to many competitor DAC SE outputs
I've skimmed over @rhythmdevils posts, but did not read them in detail, or to the point where I remember exactly what he may have said. This was intentional because I didn't want someone else's observations to totally skew mine. This thread is intended to be more of an objective analysis, to see if any measurements taken and presented correlate to perception. Per my usual procedure, I listened to them using various tracks, and jotted down some notes before I took the measurements. There's some very interesting stuff here to be sure. FWIW, I use the CFA Ara IEM on a regular basis and as such consider this to be my reference. (A reference is just that, a reference. It does not mean awesome in every way known to humans).

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I have now had all 4 iterations of the Campfire Audio Solaris here in house and currently have 3 of them here all at once- the og Solaris (gold), the og SE Solaris (abalone inlay) and the 2020 LE (all black with spiral pattern). So I obviously need to write something about how they compare.

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TLDR;

The Solaris 2020 (the smaller one) is by far the worst of them all. I go back and forth on which of the other 3 I like the best they are all very similar. They each have strengths but I think the og Solaris (gold) wins in the end for me by narrow margins followed closely or perhaps equally by the SE Solaris.
The Dunu SA6 is a six balanced armature in-ear. In fact, it is Dunu’s first foray into an all armature setup. The shell is a hand poured universal with stabilized wood faceplates. The faceplates come in many different colors and patterns but I don’t think you can choose, rather it is just random selection. The tour set is a bit boring looking but I’ve seen some nice purple and blue hues online. The shell shape is a semi custom-like universal. It’s plenty comfortable but the nozzles are pretty very short. You’re not going to achieve deep fit here. The nozzle doesn’t seem to have any ridge or notch to keep tips in place but I’ve yet to experience a tip getting stuck in my ear.

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My first impressions were of a very mild V with a slight downward tilt but after a while I’ve settled on neutral with slight bass boost. There is a switch that turns on “atmospheric immersion mode”, which seems to boost the bass a few db’s pretty evenly across the entire low range. While pleasantly done, I prefer the switches in default mode, for the more neutral of the two approaches, but I can see many enjoying the little extra thump and rumble.
Many many years ago, @zerodeefex pieced together a solution to run his IEMs via Bluetooth / LDAC for devices that supported Android O. This solution consisted of the Sony "XBA Series Bluetooth Upgrade" or MUC-M2BT1 (probably not availability in North America) and a few wire hooks. Fast forward a few years, and Shanling has made this solution easy for us with their MW200 IEM Bluetooth doodad.

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The MW200 cables are terminated for use with MMCX micro coaxial IEMs. There is no need to purchase over the ear hooks are these are built into the cable. I guess the downside is if one uses IEMs where the cables drop down. An AKM DAC/amp chip deal feeds the IEMs. I have only have a chance to try the MW200 with Campfire IEMs, known for their super sensitivity. I can happily report that I do not hear any hiss or noise. BTW, the price is a stupid low $120.
ES Lab’s ES-1a which I will talk about in several posts in this thread was on my checklist for a good reason.

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From aesthetical perspectives, es1a resembles the legendary Omega (SR-Omega, neither 007 nor 009). I auditioned the original omega many years ago and it was a mind-blowing experience. But the omega was simply unobtainable (rarely showing up in the used market, and NEVER EVER with reasonable prices to my knowledge) and all other stax higher ends weren’t as satisfying as the omega. ES1a’s development seems to be strongly motivated by SR-Omega, and the developer had a good amount of experience in dissecting Omegas and other stax/senn estat products. No wonder I was looking forward to seeing well-cloned Omega with a few modern tweaks.
I love the Joe Grado HP-1000. But I can’t stand John Grados, at lest not the classic ones I’ve heard a decade ago. After years of frustration with John and his treble peaky shit show I’ve finally found a mod that at lest makes them useful even if they remain un-listenable.

WARNING: THIS MOD IS NON REVERSIBLE AND WILL PERMANENTLY REPURPOSE YOUR GRADOS[​IMG]
Thanks to @Bill-P for dropping this off. I have to admit that I have been super negligent because I've had them for months and forgot about them. The move has only compounded things.

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What makes this Soranik IEM kind of special is the sound. The frequency response is agreeable to me, midcentric. Highs are relaxed and not boosted. Bass is extended and present. It many ways, the frequency response is like the Drop Plus, but with a maybe a peak or resonance thing in the midrange that brings out certain vocals. This effect can be lessened with deeper insertion, much like how the MEE Pinnacle P1's 3-4kHz peak can almost be eliminated.